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The Private, Exclusive Guide for Serious Divers Since 1975
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July 2019    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 45, No. 7   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Flotsam & Jetsam

from the July, 2019 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Diver Afloat Foour Days Without His Boat. John Lowe, a 60-year-old sport diver from Singapore, was stranded in the sea for four days after the speedboat he was travelling on to Malaysia's Tioman Island sank. Lowe told the Straits Times the driver had anchored the boat when it ran out of fuel, and swam to shore, but when the weather turned stormy and waves sank the vessel, Lowe was left drifting with nothing but a life buoy. He resorted to drinking seawater, then dehydration and starvation led to hallucinations, but his almost-charred body was finally discovered after 80 hours by a fishing boat passing by. Lowe was airlifted to Singapore, where he spent a week in intensive care, and is reported to be making a good recovery.

Do You Use Dive Equipment Insurance? We're thinking of doing a story on buying insurance specifically for your dive gear, the pros and cons of that, and how it differs from insuring gear under your homeowners policy. Send your good and bad experiences, and your opinions via email to

A Vivid Correction. In the article we wrote about underwater photography in last month's issue, we botched the name of a software program we were recommending. If you are near enough to the surface for some red light to penetrate, and you are shooting jpegs with a digital camera, you can enhance the red and yellow parts of the image in post-processing -- and the software we recommend to do so is Vivid-Pix (

Renowned Diver Lost in the St. Lawrence River. Andy Phillips, a well-loved PADI dive instructor and trainer, went missing on June 11 during a dive in the St. Lawrence River near Cornwall, Ontario. Phillips, 46, was born in Inverness, Scotland, and some of you might have known him from his time at Koh Tao in Thailand, Dahab in Egypt, and as manager of the Utila Dive Center in Honduras' Bay Islands. He was responsible for training thousands of instructors at all levels, and setting up a global network of dive professionals.

A Very Valuable Underwater Video. A person who was deliberately standing on a green sea turtle while snorkelling near Taiwan on June 10 has been arrested for violating the Wildlife Conservation Act. He was witnessed by another diver, who recorded it on film, contacted the authorities and provided the video as evidence. That allowed the police to track down the snorkeler at a local hostel that same day. At first, the suspect denied the accusation, but changed his tune when he was shown the video, and now faces a fine of up to US$9,500.

Komodo Island Still Scheduled for a Shutdown. The Indonesian government is pressing ahead with plans to make the home of Komodo dragons -- recent prey for animal smugglers -- off limits to tourists starting in January. They intend to keep it closed for a year while they carry out a conservation program to increase the dragon population and restore its habitat. You can still dive the island's waters via liveaboard, but those who prefer landbased resorts will need to look elsewhere -- the other 171 islands within the Komodo National Park will still be open during the shutdown.

Rob Stewart Honored with a Ship. Fins Attached, a marine conservation nonprofit, decided to name its new research expedition dive vessel Sharkwater in honor of the late Rob Stewart, environmental activist and the director of the Academy Award-winning documentary Sharkwater. The boat was christened on June 8 in Fort Lauderdale and then left on her maiden voyage to further Fins Attached research and help Stewart's team finish his film Sharkwater Extinction.

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